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Wikipedia Medicine Science

Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate 200

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A group of researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that 90% of the Wikipedia articles they sampled contained errors regarding common medical conditions. Unsurprisingly, they recommend your General Practitioner as a more reliable source, while noting, '47% to 70% of physicians and medical students admitting to using [Wikipedia] as a reference.' At issue in the study is the small sample size the researchers used: 10 medical conditions. There are also ongoing efforts to improve the quality of Wikipedia's articles. According to a Wikipedia spokesman, '... especially in relation to health and medicine.' The BBC has more approachable coverage."
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

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  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:36AM (#47099767)

    [Citation Needed]

    But also, Osteopathy leaps a bit toward the âoealternative medicineâ side of things, it wouldnâ(TM)t surprise me if Osteopaths have some issues with medical articles based on more traditional medicine.

    Having said that, how dare these quacks question the accuracy of Wikipedia! Donâ(TM)t they know they can run the gantlet of snooty Uber Editors with âoeownership issuesâ and correct these articles themselves? Of course you can be banned doing thatâ¦

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:41AM (#47099813) Journal

    Well, I guess it's no fucking good at all, we should kill the site, eradicate the errors and force everyone to pay bazillions for equally dubious mainstream encyclopedias or megabazillions for medical references.

  • Osteopath cred? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Geste ( 527302 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:47AM (#47099877)
    Like I am going to accept wisdom from a bunch of osteopaths???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:48AM (#47099881)

    Yes, I get that no article on Wikipedia is going to be 100% accurate, but this study is just plain bunk.

    First off, they mention that they had "experts" review 10 articles for the most expensive-to-treat medical issues. They have all kinds of mathematical figures, but nowhere do they actually list key things like:

    - Who was it that reviewed each article?
    - Were they an expert in that field, or an osteopath?
    - Which "peer-reviewed sources" were they using?
    - How did they determine mistakes?

    None of these questions are answered in the "methods" section of their paper. Further, their OWN SOURCES dispute what they found. For instance, they link to , a study that looked at cancer information on Wikipedia versus information in a maintained professional database on the same subject. What did they find?

    "Conclusion: Although the wiki resource had similar accuracy and depth as the professionally edited database, it was significantly less readable. Further research is required to assess how this influences patients' understanding and retention. "

    This sounds like bunk to me.

  • Re:Osteopath cred? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @11:59AM (#47099967)

    Right? A group of people practicing what is basically a total scam are questioning a site that might threaten their scam publicly?

    I suspect the real article they'd like to discredit on Wikipedia is this one: []

    the practice of osteopathy does not always adhere to evidence-based medicine


    In general, the results of randomized, controlled clinical trials have not proven osteopathy to be an effective therapy. Reviews of scientific literature produce little evidence that osteopathic manipulation is effective for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain,[21] or for pediatric conditions.[22]

    A 2013 Cochrane Review reviewed six randomized controlled trials which investigated the effect of four types of chest physiotherapy (including OMT) as adjunctive treatments for pneumonia in adults and concluded that "based on current limited evidence, chest physiotherapy might not be recommended as routine additional treatment for pneumonia in adults."[23]

    In the United Kingdom, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommend osteopathy for the treatment of persistent lower back pain. They say there is insufficient scientific evidence that osteopathy is effective for non-musculoskeletal conditions, or that osteopathy is an effective treatment for neck pain, shoulder pain, or limb pain.[3]

  • by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:04PM (#47099997) Homepage
    One has to question the motives of a "group of reasearchers" that read an article, that can be edited, that the editors plead you edit, and then these "group of reasearchers" beat their chests in superiority. It would appear that the ability to "reach down deep, and grow a pair" is beyond this "group of reasearchers?"
  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:11PM (#47100055)
    Which is why you use Wikipedia as a source aggregator rather than a direct source of correct information.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:13PM (#47100065)

    Wikipedia like an old fashion encyclopedia, isn't the end point of knowledge but the start of it.

    Back in 4th grade we had to do research and using the Encyclopedia was considered a valid source... By 6th grade, after we got use to using the encyclopedia, we were taught not to use it as a valid source, but as a start of information as to help you know what you don't know.

    Wikipedia isn't a trusted source for facts or details... But it is good on giving you a broad overview on the topic, so you can know what you don't know and dig further using real references. To find the truth you are looking for.

    The real difference between Wikipedia vs the Encyclopedia is Wikipedia is current with a huge amount of topic , but often with fad ideas. The Encyclopedia is often has less topics and older sometime out of date information, but it more better verified for the current science of the times.

  • Compared to? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:19PM (#47100111) Homepage
    The only useful comparison would be against a print-edition encyclopedia. What percentage of medical articles in a typical encyclopedia contain errors? The other thing is, just because it contains "an error" doesn't mean it isn't useful. We get through most days with a fairly flawed view of reality (most of us anyway).
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:35PM (#47100277)
    Ah... but that's a different kind of study, because you're comparing two things that actually exist. Notice this story is a different type: "90% of wikipedia articles contain errors." OK. But the second part... "your General Practitioner as a more reliable source" is actually entirely outside this study!

    If you want to support a conclusion like that, here's what you have to do: have some randomly-selected GP's write wikipedia-like articles, doing no more background research than they would do for a typical patient (i.e. within the space of about 7 minutes). Then do a blinded, comparative quality study between the GP-authored articles and the real wikipedia ones.

    That's what all these wikipedia-critiquing studies have in common - implicitly comparing to an ideal that does not exist. (But since everything is flawed, does that mean everything is equally flawed? No!)

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